Archive for the 'Awards' Category

Nisha Ayub Receives the 2016 Woman of Courage Award

Secretary Kerry's Remarks at the 2016 International Women of Courage Award

The Council for Global Equality congratulates Nisha Ayub, Director of SEED Malaysia, for receiving the 2016 Woman of Courage award from Secretary of State John Kerry at a ceremony in Washington DC today. She is the first transgender woman to ever receive this award. Ms. Ayub has been challenging Malaysia’s harsh treatment of transgender citizens, including the anti-cross dressing laws.

This award is not just about me–it’s about recognition and acceptance of trans people in regards to their gender identity. Today I am being fully recognized as a woman.

She previously met President Obama on his visit to Malaysia last year.

(Remarks by Secretary Kerry about Nisha Ayub at 21:21)

Read Secretary Kerry’s remarks

Learn more about the award and this year’s recipients.

Learn more about Nisha Ayub.

Related Content: Nisha dedicates Women of Courage Award to all transwomen (The Star Online)

President Obama Comments on Yesterday’s DOMA Supreme Court Ruling

President Obama’s remarks at a joint press conference in Senegal, where after speaking about yesterday’s Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), he addressed the treatment of LGBT people in Africa.

You can read the transcripts from the full press conference here.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, first of all, I think the Supreme Court ruling yesterday was not simply a victory for the LGBT community, it’s a victory for American democracy.  I believe at the root of who we are as a people, who we are as Americans is the basic precept that we are all equal under the law.  We believe in basic fairness.  And what I think yesterday’s ruling signifies is one more step towards ensuring that those basic principles apply to everybody.

When I spoke to Ms. Windsor — 83 years old — and I thought about the 40 years of her relationship and her partner, who is now passed, for her to live to see this day where that relationship was the vehicle whereby more people received their rights and are recognized as a testament to the love and commitment that they have made to each other, that was special.  And that’s just a microcosm of what it meant for families and their children all across America.  So it was a proud day I think for America.

Now, as you point out, there are a whole lot of implications that flow from it, because the Supreme Court did not make a blanket ruling that applies nationally, but rather lifted up the ability of states to recognize the dignity and respect of same-sex marriage, and that the federal government couldn’t negate the decision by those states.  We now have to comb through every federal statute.  And although we hadn’t pre-judged what the ruling had been, I had asked my White House Counsel to help work with lawyers across every agency in the federal government to start getting a sense of what statutes would be implicated and what it will mean for us to administratively apply the rule that federal benefits apply to all married couples.

What’s true though is that you still have a whole bunch of states that do not recognize it.  The Supreme Court continues to leave it up to the states to make these decisions.  And we are going to have to go back and do a legal analysis of what that means.  It’s my personal belief — but I’m speaking now as a President as opposed to as a lawyer — that if you’ve been married in Massachusetts and you move someplace else, you’re still married, and that under federal law you should be able to obtain the benefits of any lawfully married couple.  But I’m speaking as a President, not a lawyer.

So we’re going to be evaluating all these issues and making sure that we work through them in a systematic and prompt way, because now that the Supreme Court has spoken it’s important that people who deserve these benefits know that they’re getting them quickly.  And I know that, for example, Chuck Hagel already mentioned some work that the Department of Defense is doing on that front.  And I think we’re going to be seeing that in all the various agencies.

Now, this topic did not come up in the conversation that I had with President Sall in a bilateral meeting.  But let me just make a general statement.  The issue of gays and lesbians, and how they’re treated, has come up and has been controversial in many parts of Africa.  So I want the African people just to hear what I believe, and that is that every country, every group of people, every religion have different customs, different traditions.  And when it comes to people’s personal views and their religious faith, et cetera, I think we have to respect the diversity of views that are there.

But when it comes to how the state treats people, how the law treats people, I believe that everybody has to be treated equally.  I don’t believe in discrimination of any sort.  That’s my personal view.  And I speak as somebody who obviously comes from a country in which there were times when people were not treated equally under the law, and we had to fight long and hard through a civil rights struggle to make sure that happens.

So my basic view is that regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation, when it comes to how the law treats you, how the state treats you — the benefits, the rights and the responsibilities under the law — people should be treated equally.  And that’s a principle that I think applies universally, and the good news is it’s an easy principle to remember.

Every world religion has this basic notion that is embodied in the Golden Rule — treat people the way you want to be treated.  And I think that applies here as well.

2012 Global Equality Leadership Award Event Photos

We would like to thank everyone who attended the award ceremony and reception for Ambassador Susan E. Rice, especially our gracious hosts. For those of you who were not able make it, you can view some photos from the event.

Ambassador Rice’s remarks, at the event, were not only moving, they were humorous, determined, and and most of all genuine. So glad that the LGBT community has an ally with her principles and drive. Stay tuned for a short video of the award ceremony.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All photos by Noah Devereaux

Click to read related content. 

The Council for Global Equality honors Ambassador Susan E. Rice with the 2012 Global Equality Leadership Award

Ambassador Susan E. Rice accepting The Global Equality Leadership Award

Photo: Noah Devereaux

October 10, 2012 – The Council for Global Equality honored Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, with its 2012 Global Equality Leadership Award at a reception this evening at the home of Mitch Draizin and Fritz Brugere-Trelat.  The award recognizes U.S. leadership in support of LGBT equality in the United States and abroad.  Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin was the last award recipient.

Former U.S. Ambassador Michael Guest, a former State Department colleague of Rice and currently a Senior Adviser to the Council for Global Equality, presented the award to her.  In his remarks, he noted the leadership qualities he had seen in Ambassador Rice across her many years of public service and described how those qualities had empowered the UN’s growing recognition that LGBT rights are human rights.

In accepting the award, Rice noted that “I am truly honored to receive this recognition, because LGBT rights has been one of my personal passions throughout my tenure at the United Nations and long before.”  She explained that the struggle is personal, noting “the fight for equal rights is fundamental.  It defines who I am, how I was raised, where I come from, and where I am determined to go. . . . That principle is what made us a nation and its implementation, progressively but still not sufficiently, is at the core of our work to perfect our nation.”  She emphasized that “LGBT individuals around the world have sacrificed so much – including in some cases their lives – to seek and obtain their basic human rights.”

Mark Bromley, Chair of the Council for Global Equality, noted that “in December 2008, just before Ambassador Rice took her seat at the UN, the United States refused to join a basic UN statement affirming that LGBT rights are human rights, leaving us alone among all of our close allies in our regional Western voting bloc at the UN to reject that fundamental premise.  Since then, thanks to Ambassador Rice’s personal commitment and leadership, the United States has emerged as one of the strongest international advocates for LGBT rights at the UN and beyond.”

Julie Dorf, also Senior Adviser to the Council for Global Equality and the founder of the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), which advocates for LGBT rights globally, noted Rice’s leadership in securing UN recognition for IGLHRC, the first such UN recognition for an LGBT group from the United States.  That status allows IGLHRC to speak in support of LGBT rights at UN human rights fora.  IGLHRC’s current Executive Director, Jessica Stern, also thanked Ambassador Rice for her leadership and noted the role that organizations like hers are playing in partnering with supportive governments to advance LGBT equality for all.

Under the leadership of Ambassador Susan Rice, the United States has finally joined our closest allies in the UN in condemning violence, harassment, and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  And by directing the full force of U.S. diplomacy to such long-neglected human rights concerns, Rice helped put LGBT rights firmly on the UN agenda with an unprecedented new appeal to all countries in all regions.  In accepting the award, Rice said that the struggles in support of LGBT equality at the United Nations are some of her “proudest moments at the UN,” recognizing that “together, we’ve made a bit of history. The UN is far different today than it was four years ago.”  The Council for Global Equality is proud to be a partner in such history and proud to recognize the leadership of Ambassador Susan Rice.

The Council for Global Equailty to Honor Ambassador Susan E. Rice

Ambassador Susan E. RiceThe Council for Global equality is proud to announce the selection of, Ambassador Susan E. Rice, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as the recipient of the 2012 Global Equality Leadership Award.

Across her tenure, Ambassador Rice has spoken eloquently to the principle that, like all minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide are entitled to the same protections, respect and rights accorded to others.  Under her leadership, the United States joined the UN General Assembly in condemning violence, harassment, and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and led in restoring sexual orientation to a keystone UN human rights resolution against extrajudicial executions.  By directing the full force of U.S. diplomacy to that issue, Ambassador Rice helped put LGBT rights on the UN agenda with an unprecedented new appeal to all countries in all regions of the world.

Ambassador Rice’s leadership was also crucial to the success of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), a Council member, in securing consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. At the United Nations, unfriendly governments long have fought to exclude LGBT organizations and experts from participating in UN human rights meetings.  Indeed, that battle is now a proxy for the larger recognition of LGBT rights at the United Nations.  Without the leadership of Ambassador Rice, IGLHRC and other LGBT organizations might still be excluded from such important debates.

Ambassador Rice has consistently grounded our U.N. Mission’s representation on these matters in principles embodied in our country’s founding documents, as well as those contained in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Her leadership is in the best traditions of U.S. diplomacy.

The Global Equality Leadership Award will be presented to Ambassador Rice on October 10 in New York at a private reception.

Sec. Clinton’s Remarks at Presentation of Human Rights Defenders Award

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton poses for a photo with recipients of the U.S. State Department’s 2011 Human Rights Defender Award including Adrian Jjuuko, Geoffrey Ogwaro, Julius Kaggwa, Joanita Warry Nambirige, Clare Byarugaba, Frank Mugisha, and Hassan Shire Sheikh in Kampala, Uganda on August 3, 2012. [State Department photo]

Remarks Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State
U.S. Embassy Kampala, Uganda
August 3, 2012

Thank you so much. Well, I am very pleased to be here once again in Kampala and to have the opportunity to present the State Department’s 2011 Human Rights Defenders Award to not just one person, but to a coalition of groups that are standing up for human rights and setting an example for how civil society can work together in common cause.

Now I know our meeting has been months in the making, but I am so delighted to be here in person to meet each of you – some of you I’ve met before, but not all of you – and to put everybody’s face and name and organization together.

Since I became Secretary, we have worked to elevate the role of civil society, and especially groups that promote human rights. And so we want to be your partners as well to help bend the arc of history toward justice and to help more people lead lives of dignity and opportunity. The work you are doing is helping to make human rights a human reality. You are tearing down barriers that prevent people from enjoying the full measure of liberty, the full experience of dignity, the full benefits of humanity. And this coalition shows what can happen when brave change-makers come together.

I’ve said before it is critical for all Ugandans – the government and citizens alike – to speak out against discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of anyone. That’s true no matter where they come from, what they believe, or whom they love. And no one has been a stronger champion than all of you. You’ve been organized, disciplined, and savvy. You have marshaled the evidence and made the arguments using the rights enshrined in Uganda’s constitution and in international law. And by doing so, you are a model for others and an inspiration to the world.

I’m well aware that you do your work often amidst difficult, even dangerous circumstances. I know that some of your lives have been threatened, your friends and families intimidated. But I want you to know that the United States is and will be your partner. I raised these issues with President Museveni today, because this isn’t just about carving out special privileges for any one group; this is about making sure universal rights are protected for all people. A violation of anyone’s rights is a violation of everyone’s rights.

Standing up for human rights is not always popular, but it is always honorable. And I am delighted to present you with this award to celebrate the work of this coalition to defend the human rights of all Ugandans.

Let me come over here, and we’ll have a picture. (Applause.)

Related: Winners of the Human Rights Defenders Award

Secretary Hillary Clinton accepts the World LGBT Award from World Pride


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